For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
Romans 1:20 (NASB)
I have heard it said that some dairy products such as milk and cheese contain a protein called casein, which when digested produces natural opiates that interact with the dopamine receptors in the brain and can actually lead to a cheese addiction. True or not, in early 2002 not long after my arrival in the Thamel area of Kathmandu, Nepal, I found myself desperately craving cheese. With a loaf of bread in my room and no cheese to eat it with, and eager to explore the area, I set out in search of arguably the most delicious dairy product ever made, Happy Cow Cheese. Made by the most skilled cheese makers in Europe and exported worldwide, the circular box of creamy cheese consisted of individually wrapped cheese triangles, and I wanted some. According to the locals, this cheese could be found in every corner store in Kathmandu, so off I went.
Leaving the guest house, each street was packed with busy restaurants, internet cafes, and vendors selling locally made trinkets and souvenirs, pirated CDs and DVDs, trekking equipment and imitation North Face apparel. For some unknown reason however, almost every store was out of the cheese I so desperately wanted, and I was forced to travel out of the tourist area and deeper into Kathmandu.
After searching for quite some time and not finding what I was looking for, I decided there were worse things in life than eating bread without cheese, and I turned to go back to my guest house. I soon realized though that I was lost. Although most streets looked the same, I remembered a few key landmarks that would help me regain my bearing and guide me back to Thamel, so I asked around for these landmarks. I finally reached an area where I was familiar.
It was then I passed a narrow alleyway that did not look like the other side streets. This street contained tables and carts covered with Hindu deities made of wood, marble, brass, and stone, ranging in size from a couple of inches to a few feet in height. As I walked down the crowded alley I heard energetic conversations in Hindi, Nepali and English scrutinizing the detail of the physical representation of the Hindu deity they would potentially take home to worship. The most interesting part however, was the negotiations taking place regarding the price to be paid for these small representations of the Hindu gods. As in any typical money transaction, the buyers wanted to pay less and the sellers wanted them to pay more, which one might expect when buying a TV or a new radio, but not an idol. As I stood there observing the exchanges, I forgot all about my search for cheese and was struck by the question that I asked myself, how much is your God worth to you?
Some months later I took a break from the work I was doing with the orphanages in Kathmandu and I ventured into the Himalayas, with Mt. Everest base camp as my final destination. On the eighth day of walking I reached the summit of Mount Kala Patthar with a recorded elevation of approximately 5,643 m (18,514 ft). Standing at the top of Kala Patthar, my body ached, my eyes burned, and my head pounded due to the lack of oxygen in the air. I stood there for some time surrounded by prayer flags and mountains, admiring the beauty of God’s creation and impressed by the Creator Himself. Then it suddenly occurred to me that every mountain around me was higher than the mountain I was on. In fact there were at least 50 mountains that ascended higher than Mount Kala Patthar, and I stood there speechless and in awe.
It was then my thoughts took me back to the dust filled streets of Kathmandu, and my heart broke for the people who gave their money to purchase and worship idols. I thought if only they could stand where I was standing and see what I was seeing, then surely they would believe in the God who created the world and all things in it. Yet I knew that even if people saw all of the highest mountains in the world and all of the other natural wonders of this creation, unless they were able to irrefutably trace the fingerprints on the created back to the Creator, they would still not believe. Instead, to satisfy the divine persuasion of the Creator, they made gods for themselves that they could see with their eyes and touch and hold with their hands. Standing there that day, the truth was at least clear to me, man can make an idol, but he cannot make a mountain like the one I was standing on, only God can do that… and I was impressed by God.
How much is my God worth to me? He is worth living for and He is worth dying for. Now I ask you, how much is your God worth to you?